05/06/2009 12:00AM

Carona Time meets open foes on turf


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The development of Carona Time has been a highlight of 2009 for trainer Dan Hendricks.

A 5-year-old gelding, Carona Time began 2008 as a maiden claimer and later that year won two more races. This year, Carona Time has 1 win in 3 starts, taking an allowance race for statebreds at Santa Anita on April 4. He has earned more in three starts - $61,600 - than the $58,920 collected from 11 starts last year.

Carona Time faces his toughest test in months in a $50,000 allowance race over a mile on turf at Hollywood Park on Friday night. The race will be the first time that Carona Time has run in an allowance race against open company.

"He's run about three or four good races in a row," Hendricks said. "It seems like the style of a mile race sets up well for him."

Carona Time is making his first start on the Hollywood Park turf course since a second in a starter allowance last June. Last fall, he was sixth at 9-5 in the $50,000 California Cup Starter Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf at Santa Anita. The distance, and the lack of pace, led to the defeat, Hendricks said.

"If you go farther, you start getting pace scenarios that don't work for him," Hendricks said.

Carona Time has rallied from three or four lengths off the pace in his last two starts - a second in a one-mile optional claimer on Feb. 21 and the April 4 win. There pace may be moderate on Friday night, which would suit Carona Time.

In a one-mile optional claimer at Santa Anita on Jan. 23, Carona Time was always within a length of the lead and finished a head behind Victory Joe.

Victory Joe, who lost his next two starts after the Jan. 23 race, will be a longshot in Friday's field of seven.

Trainer Neil Drysdale has two entrants - Cavanal and Giant Gem. Cavanal was 11th after a wide trip in an allowance race at Santa Anita on March 14. Giant Gem was fourth in that same race, rallying from 11th in a field of 12 to lose by two lengths.